New York Knicks: Predicting offseason trade destinations for Frank Ntilikina

New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /
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new york knicks
New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

If the New York Knicks move Frank Ntilikina, which teams make sense as candidates in the offseason?

As the 2018-19 NBA season nears its end, the offseason chatter begins for the New York Knicks, who are in for a landmark draft and free agent period this summer. This could reshape the franchise for the next five years, but that may not be all.

Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks will explore a Frank Ntilikina trade around the draft. The young guard remains out with a groin injury.

Ntilikina’s 21 months in New York have encountered on-court struggles, including dropping out of head coach David Fizdale’s rotation twice this season. He was even involved in prior trade rumors.

If the 20 year old’s time with the Knicks is ticking, there are teams that make sense for his services, and slightly different from in-season options. Where could he go this summer?

5. Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are an unusual destination for Frank Ntilikina, or at least not the most obvious one. They are rebuilding, like the New York Knicks, but don’t hold similar position in 2019 free agency, with two max slots to end a “developmental” period and fast-forward to playoff contention.

This roster is steadily filling with youth, including Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman. Rising in the Eastern Conference will take more than that, and if the Knicks are ready to move on from Ntilikina, could this match?

Dealing its own first-round picks is a risky play for Atlanta, since success isn’t guaranteed. They have a protected pick from Cleveland that will convey if after 10th overall in the 2019 and 2020 drafts, but barring an incredible improvement from the Cavaliers, that won’t happen.

The next best option is Oklahoma City’s 2022 first-round pick. While three years away, it’s still a first-round pick for the Knicks to take and use as a trade asset, but it can easily convey into 2024 and 2025 second-round picks.

If the Hawks think they will find success, sending their own protected pick in 2021 or 2022 works, as well, but with the chance to become second-rounders. Will the Knicks take that risk?